Companies have been working tirelessly to enhance and improve the fluid working experience as a way to attract and retain employees in the highly competitive labor market. Coworking spaces are considered productivity destinations for employees.
Throughout the workplace ecosystem, executives, team leaders, and HR managers have been working to incorporate different elements in the workplace that can help improve creativity, incite workplace conversations, and help boost productivity.
Employees are not eager to return to their once beloved office spaces.
Despite all the efforts to make offices better, employees don’t want to return to the office. The luxuries of remote work, from schedule flexibility to more personal autonomy, have given workers the freedom to work in an environment that offers them perks that their cold and shoulder-to-shoulder offices will never have.
The shift in how employees work is primarily impacted by where they work
The concept of coworking spaces was once a foreign idea not so long ago, with just over 280 recorded coworking spaces scattered across the United States in 2010. Fast-forward a bit, and today there are over 6,200 coworking spaces accounting for more than 117.5 million square feet of flexible and shared working office space.
Even as the pandemic shattered the doors of these coworking hubs, demand is steadily growing again as some of the industry’s most significant coworking startups have reported an increase in monthly membership even as employers try to lure workers back to the office.
What do we lose by working from home?
Empty offices and deserted parking lots are not all the many things we lose when working from home or choosing to visit a coworking space. This has only added to the abundance of open office real estate now overlooking the streets in dense metropolitan areas.
But in the past, many considered coworking spaces the chatty and colorful social hubs used to socialize during work breaks and between virtual meetings. Fortunately, to some extent, that’s not the case anymore, as some coworking spaces have now become a productivity destination for all types of workers.
To help us better understand why coworking spaces are so popular and why they enable us to manage workload capacity better, let’s have a look at some of the more common benefits that add to employee productivity.
The Growth of the Coworking Environments Can Help Provide Productive Destinations
While the pre-pandemic economy relied heavily on the need for physical in-person laborers, the rise of the gig economy helped kick off the surge of coworking spaces across the world.
The gig economy
The gig economy combines soft and technical skills and has given life to a new workforce.
Small, once-off jobs or gigs have mainly become attractive. One-off jobs allow an employee or freelancer the chance to complete tasks they find fluffing and interesting while still being paid a fee.
The gig economy is also closely tied to the field of freelancing
Freelancers generated nearly $1 trillion in income in 2021 for the more than 59 million Americans working as freelancers. Many freelancers currently represent 36% of the American workforce, and it is projected that by 2028 they will account for 50.9% of workers.
Technological advancements coupled with better work-life and home-life balance while doing meaningful work have become increasingly attractive to many previous full-time employees.
The Coworking spaces
Coworking spaces were thus considered the solution that could provide these workers a place where they have access to facilities such as electricity, high-speed internet, boardrooms, and other luxury amenities, including a bakery, restaurant, or cafe right next to the workspace.
In the same breath, these collaborative environments ensure that gig workers, freelancers, and even remote employees can shut out the noise from the outside and establish a clear divide between work and home.
Increased productivity in the coworking space
What’s more, research by the Harvard Business Review found that people who frequently use coworking spaces experience an increase in productivity and overall satisfaction. Other benefits claimed by the study include greater autonomy structure and the ability to change their routine frequently.
Having the ability to thrive while at the same time seeing increased levels of productivity and building better daily routines are vital factors that come with coworking space and a diverse set of attributes that are beneficial to freelancers, remote workers, and independent professionals.
Ultimately this could help lead to an effective model built on the foundation of incorporating shared and communal settings within the traditional office space.
Why Coworking Spaces are Effective for Productivity
Whether it’s an independent coworking facility such as those established by Workville, WeWork, CA+HOOTS, Geekdom, or perhaps a communal space within an office or building that offers mixed usability; several reasons support the idea that these spaces can help boost employee morale, creativity, social skills and more importantly practicing purposeful productivity.
Linking Colleagues and Professionals
When like-minded people surround employees or independent workers, they tend to be more relaxed, focused, and creative. Not only is this considered a social attribute, but it can help employees feed off of each other’s energy and create the premise for new ideas.
Also, it’s where employees can link up with people within their field or those from other industries that can help give them an outsider perspective.
Constitutes a Productive Working Environment
The nature to adapt to our surroundings is embedded within our DNA, which leads us to become more productive if those around us are doing the same. For example, employees will become motivated to complete tasks or grind harder to finish complex projects as they share a working space. Once they see others working just as hard, it automatically creates a sense of having to focus.
While the traditional office had a sense of support, it didn’t come as close to what coworking spaces offered employees. With coworking spaces, employees are more supportive and encouraging of one another.
These factors help to motivate oneself, leading to better satisfaction and job connection, as it’s easier to connect or ask for advice in shared open spaces. Ultimately this leads to employees and workers feeling more supported by their peers.
Support within the work environment is crucial, especially for new hires during the onboarding process, as organizations tend to blame workers instead of addressing issues related to communication and training.
Designed With Workers in Mind
Remote work and coworking spaces are in environments that cater to the needs of workers. From the physical architecture to the amenities, it’s all focused on what the worker will need to remain productive and focused throughout the day.
Those who worked from home will share a great deal about how the home-work environment helped us feel more relaxed and focused. Moreover, the National Bureau of Economic Research estimates that productivity levels have jumped by 5% since droves of employees started working remotely.
While some companies paid stipends to their employees to help set up their home office, others weren’t as lucky. However, despite the lack of support, coworking spaces generally have advanced tech and equipment that are free to use by members.
Internet connection is often faster and stronger, while other luxury high-end amenities only add to the many great features that come along with coworking hubs.
Allows Work Balance
This is perhaps one of the most critical factors that help set coworking spaces aside from just being considered offices with trendy interiors and delicious pastries – it’s a break from the conventional office or home office altogether.
Working from one of these hubs throughout the week helps employees shake up their routines a bit. Instead of running a 40-hour work week from the same office for weeks, workers can now change their routines more often while breaking the connection with the home or corporate office.
Instead of having workers dress in corporate attire, attend tiresome meetings and linger around the office until it’s time to clock out, the coworking space is a relaxed environment without the need for a dress code and managers constantly breathing down your neck.
These places offer the perfect blend of professional and laid-back recipes that can help put employees more at ease.
Conclusion — The Office Reimagined
Let’s consider how much offices have changed in the last couple of years. Then, we can start to understand better why many employees are looking for jobs that offer better flexibility and promote healthy work environments.
The office is more than just a desk and a chair. It’s also more than expensive equipment and seemingly endless chats with coworkers. It’s a place that needs to be designed and curated with the worker at the heart of it.
There is a fine line between a coworking space used for in-house ping pong tournaments and a place used to help inspire, provoke collaboration and drive employees. Officers should be reimagined, and there’s quite a lot that employers can learn from the funky and welcoming coworking spaces that have helped millions find a home away from the office and an office away from home.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Ivan Samkov; Pexels; Thank you!
Carma Khatib is a passionate innovator and product manager with significant experience driving digital products from conception to launch. My mission is to find and create solutions to real-world problems that ultimately impact a company's triple bottom line: People, Planet, and Profit.